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So, I have this opportunity to specialize in a vendor software package (like SAS, SAP, PeopleSoft, Pega, Lombardi BPM...). You know the deal - they need a coder to learn their package and "there's all this demand for the skill"; "big growing companies are using it", etc, etc. And (now, at least), the money's better.

I'm worried about whether or not I'll be able to keep my "normal" programming skills current.
I'm worried about what it will look like on a resume if I switch back to "normal" programming in a couple of years.
I'm worried about whether or not it will be fun.

What do you think?

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I have exact same question, I now have an opportunity to work on Pega Prpc product, I am currently working as a java developer. so what did you decide? –  flash Jul 3 '12 at 12:44
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I went with Pega, but, it's funny, in my area in the company - if I'm working on a Pega team, there will be some java to code, so i'm the one to do it. If it's a Java team, then I'll get pulled off to do a conversion (Someone will decide a Pega app is more appropriate in Java). And Andomar (below) is right - with the vendor's software, you work at a higher level (closer to the business), so you deal more with the business problem. –  codeyoung Aug 21 '12 at 16:11
    
Thanks for the response,I am in the interview process, will consider the suggestions –  flash Aug 30 '12 at 12:14
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1 Answer

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The vendor software packages you list are definitely a shift, but not so much away from normal programming. You'll find that a SAP expert spends about 10% of his time on software problems, and 90% on business problems. So it's a shift away from programming in general.

This is definitely a good career move. You won't be putting your career at risk.

SAP or SAS are significantly less fun tho. There is generally very little room for expriment. Switching to vendor specific packages is advisable when:

  • You need money
  • You start valuing other things in life over work
  • You're interested in a career move away from programming
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